"Families Belong Together' Rally in the Quad Cities

Published: Jul. 2, 2018 at 4:43 PM CDT
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On Saturday, June 30th, Quad Cities residents and a coalition of community and civil rights organizations, rallied at VanderVeer Park as part of the Families Belong Together, a national day of action to protest the policy of forcibly separating children from their parents, the detention of families, and the fact that the United States Government has failed to reunite thousands of children with their parents.

The protesters demands to the current Administration were as follows:

• Permanently end family separation and immediately reunify those that have been separated. ICE must release parents immediately so that they can be reunited with their children.

• Children and families deserve due process, not indefinite imprisonment. Children do not belong in baby cages and internment-like camps. Family incarceration is not the solution to family separation.

• End the ‘Zero Humanity’ policy that created this crisis and chaos. Parents should not be criminally prosecuted for doing what all parents do, which is bring their children to safety.

The rally was part of a National “Families Belong Together” Day of Action featuring more than 773 events in all 50 states and an anchor protest in Lafayette Square in Washington DC.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free!

Posted by Chandra Dempsey Oakland on Sunday, July 1, 2018

(NBC) - Thousands watched the Facebook livestream of the "Families Belong Together" rally in Washington where parents, children and faith leaders took turns to speak out against the Trump administration policy. Lin-Manuel Miranda took the stage and sang a song from his celebrated musical "Hamilton" to the protesters.

"We will not stand for a country separating children from their families," Miranda told MSNBC. "And if you are silent on that issue, or you are somehow for that issue you're not getting re-elected. And that's what we need to make them understand."

Meanwhile, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., reminded demonstrators in Atlanta of how effective the rallies he organized in the 1960s were in combating segregation and inequality. This was another moment in which to fight back, he said.

"As a nation and a people we can do better," Lewis said. "Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Keep marching."

The congressman urged attendees to vote in the upcoming election to stymie the administration and future policies, and the crowd responded with a chant of "vote, vote, vote."

More than 2,300 children were taken from their families in recent weeks under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy in which people entering the U.S. illegally face being prosecuted. But after public outcry earlier this month, President Donald Trump ordered that the families crossing into the country illegally no longer be separated.

However, more than 2,000 children still remain separated from their parents. Saturday's marches hope to put pressure on the administration to reunify these families as quickly as possible.